Media, Information and Broadcasting Services minister Jonathan Moyo on Thursday said President Robert Mugabe’s recent statement making reference to the private media was not meant to demonise or attack the independent media.
Media advocacy groups and media experts recently slammed Mugabe for attempting to gag Zanu PF officials from engaging the independent media saying such a move would worsen media polarisation in the country.
While addressing Zanu PF supporters in Kariba on Thursday last week, Mugabe warned party bigwigs against dealing with the private media in the ongoing factional fights, labelling it the “opposition media”.
But Moyo said Mugabe’s statement was misrepresented in the media.
Addressing editors from both the public and private media, as well as officials from media advocacy groups, Moyo said Mugabe never said the media should stop reporting the “leaks” from Zanu PF officials, but simply instructed officials against discussing party issues in the media.
“He (Mugabe) simply said you Zanu PF people don’t go to the media with leaks.
“No one issued a warning to the media. If anything, it is the Zanu PF officials (leaking information) who were threatened,” he said.
Moyo said the Constitution protected journalists from revealing their sources.
But he said it was the duty of the media to verify facts and desist from relying on unnamed sources who might have their own personal agendas.
Moyo warned that the media could be used to settle scores especially as the two main political parties in the country, Zanu PF and the MDC-T, headed for their elective congresses.